An IT consultancy firm could be of two types basically. If it is a one man organization then the person runs his firm solely on his services catering his knowledge to related sources. If it is a concern then a group of consultants headed by a member and in hierarchy would render their services to a wide range of firms dealing with their own businesses. It doesn’t have to be solely an IT firm, it could be pure management or finance or for the matter direct trading of raw materials or even hosiery. All in all a consultant is primarily used by organization to steam up their business ventures implementing the consultants views, ideas and strategies.
The IT consulting industry can be categorized on basis of their operation as a three-tier system:
1) Professional services firms which maintain large professional workforces and command high bill rates. These firms either source their employees from low-cost nations or out sourcing their work to low cost countries.The reason here is the economy of the nation that holds strong.Such that instead of affording one national from that particular country if the job is outsourced to a country of weaker economy he affords another five in number for the same price via the economic exchange.
2) Staffing firms, which place technologists in businesses on a temporary basis.They are small firms but exploit global cost differences by bringing guest workers to their host country in terms of contracts or as bonded workers. They are also termed as body shops.
3) Independent consultants, who either A) function as contractors or B) employees of staffing firms or C) subcontractors in their own right.
People in general do get confused trying to differentiate between an IT consultant and a general management consultant. An It consultant will always score over his counterparts due to his knowledge in a field of expertise. IT consultants often have degrees in computer science, electronics, technology, or management of information systems while management consultants often have degrees in accounting, economics, Industrial Engineering, finance, or a generalized MBA (Masters in Business Administration).
Now the main question of concern that rises is how does a consultant or for the matter a consultancy firm improve its prospects and gathers quality clients. Following are some ways to boost up your credibility of your consultancy.
A] For an Independent Consultant, or a small group, the growth is primarily through referrals or recommendations. The referral is the most valuable of all business generators for four distinct reasons:
1) The act of referring you to others indicates that your firm or services are indeed valuable if not worthy.
2) While meeting your new client you aren’t complete strangers rather a bit known to each other through the referrals and hence that initial uneasiness isn’t present.
3) Referrals and recommendations are the primary USP (Unique selling point) of your consultancy services,rather the best marketing strategy that you could ever imply and that to free of cost.
4) Referrals provides you with the highest-quality clients and engagements.
B] Confidence is an important factor. Even if you are new to the field of consultancies try remaining confident in front of your client. A hint of insecurity could actually spoil the entire ambiance or the meeting. Your business falls flat on it’s face. Rather if you are confident you take your client in to confidence and convince him of your ideas being surely successful there lies every chance of another referral and the word from mouth keeps increasing about your business.
C] High Quality Clients and Engagements: The nature of engagements that comes to the firm through referrals is likely to be high-value, serious, and high-margin.High-quality managements recognize the value of a good referral, as opposed to checking the Yellow Pages, or picking a consultant based upon a speaking engagement or even a fad bestseller book. They ask people whose opinions they trust. The result: the most interesting, rewarding clients are the ones that come from referrals.
D] Marketing Message:One must have a marketing message to improve or increase the prospects of the firm.There should be a sales cycle through whom you could bank your success upon. If you hope to generate referrals, be clear about the roles in the “sales cycle” at work here: you must “train” or “equip” your clients to deliver the “marketing message” for you. The clients are your agents or “representatives.”The first contact with a potential client on your behalf is not in your hands, but you can shape the event depending on what tactics you implement. The Marketing message needn’t be lengthy or complex. The intention is to be referred with enough interest that a potential client invites you in for an exploratory interview, or even better, to discuss a specific engagement in the offering.
All in all executing the referral strategy toward the end of an engagement gives you the ideal opportunity to move ahead with your business successfully. Frankly speaking people who have opened consultancies are earning money as if there wasn’t any yesterday or if there won’t be any tomorrow. Start out alone and the only time you might just find things to be a bit tough is to get a major client initially. But if you are experienced, which means that the consultancy isn’t your first job ever and if you have served under any reputed company or organization, use that for a recommendation and there would be no looking back.